Texas Success Initiative Exam

Starting this year, students that wish to take college classes, whether they have their high school diploma or want to take dual-credit classes, will be required to meet the passing standards on the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) Exam. This exam was approved by the Texas Legislature with the purpose of identifying students who do not have the skills required to succeed in college level courses. The TSI exam is a computer based exam.

Every student that takes the TSI exam must also complete a pre-assessment. The pre-assessment consists of watching a video that discusses the different parts of the exam, the purpose of the exam, and the importance of doing your best on the exam.

The TSI exam covers three academic areas: reading, mathematics, and writing. It has been stressed that the TSI will be more rigorous than other exams that have been used in the past for the same purpose (THEA, Accuplacer). The TSI exam will be based on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). It has also been stressed that there will be no arithmetic problems on the math portion of the exam. The math will start at the algebra level.

According to the Region 7 Education Service Center, the TSI results will provide, “a diagnostic profile of student’s specific academic deficiencies so that classes can target those areas for the fastest improvement track”.

The TSI exam will become a diagnostic exam if a student does not answer enough questions correctly. For example, in mathematics, the student will start with basic algebra questions. Each question that a student answers correctly will earn the student points. Questions will become increasingly more difficult as the student continues to be successful. However, if the student is not successful at answering questions, the student will be taken to a diagnostic portion of the exam to determine their specific strengths and weaknesses in the area of math. The same formula will apply to the reading and writing portions of the exam. Depending on how a student does in the writing portion of the text, a written composition of between 400 and 600 words may be required.

Students that do not meet the passing standards on any portion of the TSI will be required to complete developmental classes in the areas not passed.

There are several ways that a student may be exempt from taking the TSI. A few of the ways include working toward a Level 1 Certificate Program only, a combined score of 1070 on the SAT with a math and reading score of at least 500, an ACT composite score of at least 23 with a math and reading score of at least 19, a student already holds a bachelor or associate degree, a student has already successfully completed coursework at an institute of higher education, has been on active duty in the military for at least three years, or has been honorably discharged or retired from the military.

The TSI will be phased in with regards to the necessary score to meet the required standards. Phase 1 will include students that are entering higher education in Fall 2013. Phase 2 will start with students entering higher education in Fall 2017. The final standard will be in place with students entering higher education in Fall 2019. All colleges and universities are required to abide by the passing scores set by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

As we receive more information about the TSI, it will be provided in future posts.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!


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